A desire line is a path or track created as a consequence of erosion, caused by either human or animal footfall.
Desire lines abound in Tania Rutland’s paintings and prints but ones slowly carved by the movements of bodies through the natural (rather than urban) landscape, alternately captured with a sense of the intimate and the epic. The framing of her views can point to great distances or the very beginning of a pathway. We remain curiously on the edge.
Her works also hint at the detritus left by human endeavour; isolated architecture, and abandoned objects. Misty, drenched and apparently subject to continuous change, these landscapes slow us down in thinking where to move and turn, giving time to wonder about what has gone before us. And the natural landscape, perhaps definitively, unlike manmade ones, carries irreconcilable extremes of care and danger.
As Rutland is acutely aware, the image of the British landscape has been held as a deeply lyrical and also battle-scarred and weary. Two of her favourite writers on the landscape are Robert MacFarlane and Edward Thomas, in particular, the latter’s ‘One Green Field’. Both authors recognise landscapes as a space of the unruly, not only shaped by the play of light and ever-shifting atmospheres but also the impact of the past – including remembrance – on the present, and the limits and possibilities of imagining a personal relationship.